Whaleboats Ho! — Sag Harbor Celebrates Itself

Once described as the largest block party extending out over the water, Sag Harbor’s Harborfest is a village-wide event celebrating the maritime history of this port, which served as the first Port of Entry to the United States. This year’s festivities will be held on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 7 and 8.

Whaleboat Races are Harborfest’s signature event, presented by The Sag Harbor Express off Windmill Beach, where annual bragging rights and the coveted Whalers Cups are on the line. The races had their origins in the Old Whalers Festival, which began in 1964 as an effort to drum up tourism during the shoulder season. Races begin at noon on Saturday, and 11:30 am on Sunday, and run throughout the afternoon. Men’s, Women’s, Junior’s and Firefighter divisions will compete.

Sag Harborites are expert clam shuckers, as evidenced by this photo from 2017’s HarborFest clam-shucking contest. But this August, East Hampton shuckers get their first chance at the spotlight.
Sag Harborites are expert clam shuckers, as evidenced by this photo from 2017’s HarborFest clam-shucking contest.

2019 Schedule of Events

Saturday, Sept. 7

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Arts and Crafts Fair – Marine Park
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Sidewalk sale – Main Street, village business district
10 a.m. – Songs and Stories of the Sea (for children) – Annie Cooper Boyd House, 174 Main Street
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Children’s amusements, games and activities – Long Wharf
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Classic boat display – Long Wharf
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  A Taste of Sag Harbor – Long Wharf
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Hands-On Artisan Crafts & Sale – Annie Cooper Boyd House, 174 Main Street
10 to 11 a.m.  Live nautical music with John Corr – Windmill Beach
11 a.m.  Children’s tug-of-war – Windmill Beach
11 a.m.  Tussie Mussie workshop with Bonnie Grice – Annie Cooper Boyd House, 174 Main Street
11 a.m.  Live music with Sag Harbor Community Band – Long Wharf
Noon  Whalers Cup races, elimination round #1 – Windmill Beach
1 p.m.  Kids’ corn shucking contest, register the Windmill – Long Wharf
1 to 3 p.m.  Live music: The Scofflaws – Long Wharf
1:30 p.m.  Firefighters’ Cup whaleboat races, Sag Harbor FD Championship – Long Wharf and Windmill Beach
2:30 p.m.  Children’s potato sack race – Windmill Beach
3 p.m.  Whalers Cup races, elimination round #2 — Windmill Beach
3 p.m.  Children’s hula hoop fun – Long Wharf

Sunday, Sept. 8

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Arts and Crafts Fair – Marine Park
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.  Sidewalk sale – Main Street, village business district
10 a.m. to noon  Live music with Tim Fitall and Sampawams Creek – Long Wharf
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Children’s amusements, games, activities – Long Wharf
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  Classic boat display – Long Wharf
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  A Taste of Sag Harbor – Long Wharf
11 a.m.  Children’s tug-of-war – Windmill Beach
11:30 a.m.  Junior Whaleboat elimination and semifinal rounds – Long Wharf and Windmill Beach
Noon  Whaleboat races semifinal – Long Wharf and Windmill Beach
1 p.m.  Children’s corn shucking contest – Windmill Beach
1 to 3 p.m.  Live music with Jim Turner – Long Wharf
1:30 p.m.  Whaleboat race, fire department final – Long Wharf and Windmill Beach
3 p.m.  Children’s hula hoop contest – Long Wharf
3 p.m.  Whaleboat Race Championship – Long Wharf and Windmill Beach
3 to 5 p.m.  Keith Leaf Fire Juggler – Long Wharf

Fun for Kids

Long Wharf will be teeming with kids activities all weekend long, with bounce castles, games, competitions and amusements. Just off the wharf on Windmill Beach will be tug-of-wars, hula hoop contests and the annual corn shucking contest. 

Music

The Nancy Atlas Project will play a free concert at the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum on Friday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. and Bay Street Theatre hosts a concert by the Bob Dylan tribute band The Complete Unknowns on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 8 p.m.

Beth Young

Beth Young

Beth Young built her first boat out of driftwood tied together with phragmites behind her family’s apartment above the old Mill Creek Inn in Southold. Nowadays, she spends most of her time kayaking, learning about shellfish, writing newspaper stories, trying to sail a Sunfish, and watching the way the bay changes from day to day. You can send her a message at [email protected]

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